The Japanese Caves in Mbay

The Japanese Caves in Mbay

When visiting the Nagekeo district and in particular Mbay, you surely don’t want to miss the chance to experience a blast from the past in the hills of Lape. Located off the beaten track, this is a fitting activity for those who are seeking for adventure.

The Japanese Caves in Mbay bring quite some history with them. During World War II, the Japanese army built approximately 33 man-made caves in the higher lands of Lape Village. This was in 1942-1945 and till this day the villagers still use the caves. What makes the caves even more unique is that the Japanese army managed to build a smaller cave with a continuous flow of fresh and clear water. This is unique because the caves are on dry land. Back in the day, the caves served as bunkers for protection and storage. But nowadays the locals use the caves as shelter against the sun. Children even play hide and seek in there! Since the caves are pitch dark, they are inhabited by bats.

The caves are located behind the lush green hills of Lape. This means you have to trek cross land to reach the caves. Don’t worry for those who are tired of walking, you will be rewarded with a beautiful trekking route. Since there are hedges, shrubs and wild trees on the hills, you will get some admirable views. You will even spot several rice fields along the way. And if you look south, you will see Mount Ebulobo, which is an active volcano. You could say that the view offers something for everyone!

Travel tips

  • This place is perfect for bird spotters since the hills of Lape is home to eagles, quails and many other bird species.
  • It is recommended to go with a local guide since the trek to the cave is quite rough.

Photo courtesy:

Best of Flores – Flores Plus Magazine

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